One of the things that have driven me away from video gaming somewhat, is the move away from offline cooperative experiences to online ones. I get it, I’m a Luddite in this regard but video games are so bound up in the experience of sitting down with a friend, getting Cheeto dust all over your controllers and blasting through some fools until the wee hours of the morning, and online play just never scratched that itch for me.
Triangle Studios’ It came from space and ate our brains calls back to the heyday of offline co-op in more ways than one. It’s a top-down twin-stick shooter in the vein of Smash TV or Robotron, and it’s simple, Minecraft-esque aesthetic and even simpler gameplay is loaded with charm. You’ll play as Jerry, a regular dude who has an inexplicable proficiency with many weapons. As the title suggests, Jerry is called to action when a species of brain-eating aliens land on earth and starts getting their munch on. That’s about as much backstory as you’re going to get, but what more do you need?
Jerry starts off the game armed with a flashlight and a pistol. You can turn using the right stick, and you’ll only be able to fire in the direction that you (and your flashlight) are facing. Ammo is unlimited and Jerry will eventually get access to higher-powered weaponry, including a machine gun, shotgun, lasers, and rocket launchers through upgrade boxes scattered throughout each level. From these boxes, you can also get place-able weapons that serve as traps, like gun turrets and mines, to keep the creatures at bay. None of this is unique to It came from space and ate our brains but it is executed really well here, and those turrets are welcome when the enemies start coming hot and heavy.
The action in It came from space and ate our brains starts off easily but ramps up fast, and you’ll soon find yourself in a corner, mowing down hordes of creatures as the pressure mounts. There’s an addictive quality to the gameplay, and it’s really easy to lose hours when you think you’ve been playing for minutes – a hallmark of a great game. This is even more fun with a second player, so you can strategize and box the enemy in, or swoop in to save your partner when things get too heavy. It came from space and ate our brains taps into that supreme satisfaction you get from completing a sequence, whether alone or with a pal.
Visually, It came from space and ate our brains is a treat – especially if you love the Minecraft or Roblox games and their blocky aesthetic. Neon colours pop off the simply-rendered backgrounds and characters and what are pretty basically-designed levels pulse with life, especially as the bullets (or laser beams) fly. The use of contrast is well done, emphasizing the important parts of the levels while the more active areas are lit up like you’re at a rave in 1998. Speaking of raves, the soundtrack to It came from space and ate our brains absolutely slaps, and keeps your adrenaline pumping as you work your way through the levels.
It came from space and ate our brains packs a lot into a small, affordable package. It’s not the longest game or the one with the most developed story, but it’s got enough going for it that I can see myself revisiting it often, even after the last alien is brought to justice.
It came from space and ate our brains is available for PS4, Xbox, Steam, and Switch from Triangle Studios. We reviewed the PS4 version.